Black Excellence Month

To Celebrate Black Excellence Month we have these events lined up for you.. 

Keep an eye on this page for our Black Excellence Hall of Fame

Activism Workshop
27th October
Zoom
Activism Workshop with Sofia Akel


Hall of Fame 

We will be updating this page everday from the 12th with some AMAZING graduates and current black students from UWL. This years theme for Black Excellence Month is Activism! So we asked a few students why activisim is important and how they have been involved.
    

Buki Ajimobi

What did you study at UWL: LLB Law 

Tell us a bit about you (values/interests/hobbies) :My values are Helping others, inspiring change, challenging boundaries and leaving a mark! I’m interested in graphics branding and music.

What are you doing now: I am working as a freelance graphic designer!

What is your greatest achievement to date: Definitely starting up my own graphic design agency

How did UWL help you to achieve your current position: I was able to take part in the young enterprise competition back in 2015 that UWL put on for students. I ended up winning 3/5 categories and went on to do interviews with the BBC and become CITI’s European ambassador for young people in business

Why is activism important? : “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything” and with the current state of the world with exclusive reference to the BLM movement - there has never been a better time to get involved in standing up for what is right.

How have you been involved?: I’ve been involved by using my graphics platform to create designs for people to help them spread awareness. Not everyone is a protester, not everyone can afford to donate so do whatever you can with whatever you have! Signing petitions from reputable sources and sharing them has also been something that I make a priority.

    

 

Kyle Birch

Name: Kyle Birch

What did you study at UWL: Musical Theatre with Foundation

Tell us a bit about you (values/interests/hobbies): As you can tell from the course I chose to study, I love musical theatre. Ever since seeing my first West End show at the age of 13, I knew this was the industry I wanted to go into. Alongside Musical Theatre, I also enjoy going out and socialising with friends. One quote that I try to live by is “You are enough”.What are you doing now: I’m currently waiting for the theatre industry to land back on its feet, but until then I’m performing in concerts and auditioning for things as and when I can.

What is your greatest achievement to date: Last summer, I performed in one of my dream shows ‘Once On This Island” at London’s leading off West End theatre, Southwark Playhouse.

How did UWL help you to achieve your current position: Whilst working for the SU as a commercial crew member in both the bar and café, it helped me to develop my team working skills which was a crucial element in my course. This will also help me in the theatre industry as you’re constantly working with a new set of people.

Why is activism important? Activism is important because it is a way for people to voice their opposition to racial injustices they may have experienced in their lives and all their friends or family‘s lives too. It also gives a voice to those in a less powerful position in today’s modern society.

How have you been involved?

 I’ve been heavily involved with activism by not only sharing posts on social media, but educating myself so that I can make sure that the stuff I share is accurate. I’ve also shared and donated to petitions to help others who face injustice. Recently, I (along with other friends/allies) joined a peaceful protest in Parliament Square in aid of the Black Lives Matter movement. In July I was featured in an online concert called “Turn Up”, which was about raising awareness of black performers both on the West End and Broadway.


 

Annetta Jackson

Name: Annetta Jackson

What did you study at UWL: Law (LLB Hons) 

Tell us a bit about you (values/interests/hobbies) : I am a 23yr old feminist, photographer, storyteller, lawyer and I suppose I’m also an activist. I love blending all of my interests together to help further my passions and work. Through my photography I help tell stories, through my stories I help educate on feminist issues, through my feminism I help advocate for better rights for women, girls, men and boys, and through my advocacy I become a better legal professional. I am also proud to be a Black Caribbean woman and I try through all of my interests and values to push for the amplification of Black voices and experiences. 

What are you doing now: I recently completed postgraduate studies and training to become a Barrister. I am currently working as a Project Manager on a European Union funded project to agitate for the abolition of the death penalty in the Eastern Caribbean and Barbados. 

What is your greatest achievement to date: It has to be completing my Law studies. It was so rewarding as I moved away from home and my family in order to pursue studies. 

How did UWL help you to achieve your current position: Studying Law at UWL allowed me to explore my interests in Human Rights Law which helped me figure out how I wanted to use my Law degree throughout my career. Being exposed to the Students’ Union allowed me to develop as an activist and advocate through my involvement as an NUS delegate and then as an NUS committee member for International students. Studying at UWL equipped me with experiences and skills that directly benefitted me and the career I wanted for myself.

Why is activism important? If you want changes to be made, if you want to hold people accountable you have to be active. Activism is important because at the foundation of all of our social movements that have led to advancing people in our society people have spoken out when they were disappointed and underserved. As young people, even as students we need to be aware of what happens around us and be proactive in demanding the changes we wish to see for not only ourselves but for those after us. Where would we be without activism and advocacy?
How have you been involved? Throughout the explosion of the BLM movement, I took the time to further educate myself. There were things I already knew and things I didn’t. I took the time to share petitions and sign them as well as to monitor the updates to the petitions. I curated a reading list of books that helped me understand my position as a Black person in society and how to improve that. I also found little ways of making that information simple and accessible. However even outside of the riots for the murder of George Floyd my content and my work has always focused on Black Lives, stories, voices and experiences because we have always mattered and I am Black 24/7.

    

 

Yasmin Shaw

Name Yasmin Shaw

What did you study at UWL: Music Performance and Recording

Tell us a bit about you (values/interests/hobbies): I enjoy music (anything by Beyoncé), Action movies, hosting social events and playing netball. I try to support others as much as I can, especially those closest to me. I think it’s so important to help build people up wherever you can especially if they may not have the resources or capability. Treating others the way you would want to be treated is so important!

What are you doing now: I am a Singer-Songwriter and also work at UWLSU as a Commercial Assistant Manage.

What is your greatest achievement to date: Although it was a year ago now, it would have be graduating university!

How did UWL help you to achieve your current position: Being a committee member of UWL Netball for two years helped development my confidence, public speaking and leadership skill, all of which have played a part in where I am. As well as allowing me to make life long friends who support and care about what I do.

Why is activism important?  Activism is important as without it things wouldn’t evolve or change. Just because something has been done for a long time and may work for one person, doesn’t mean it’s what’s best for everyone and activism challenges and hopes to eliminate that.

How have you been involved? I have got involved by sharing information and resources around the BLM movement to educate people across my social media platforms & by sharing and supporting/buying from black owned businesses, especially within the UK. I also sign and share petitions and have conversations with others about the importance of this movement, how to educate yourself, and why it is EVERYONES responsibility to stand up, speak out and make change.

Social Link: https://www.instagram.com/yasminshawmusic/

https://www.facebook.com/yasminshawmusic/

@yasminshawmusic on Facebook & Instagram

    

 

Kat Hackshaw

 

Name: Kat Hackshaw

What did you study at UWL: MA Advertising, Branding and Communication

Tell us a bit about you (values/interests/hobbies) : I run an online platform called the Big Sister Journal alongside my business partner. Which is all about empowering and developing women and young girls self esteem and confidence

What are you doing now: In my final month of completing my masters degree and looking for a job in communications. Hopefully I’ll find something soon.

What is your greatest achievement to date: I definitely think doing this masters degree, a few years back I would never have thought I’d be in my last month of completing it and I’m so proud of myself of getting this far. I’ve learnt so much and gained so many skills that I’m excited to go out and use it all.

How did UWL help you to achieve your current position: My whole university journey has definitely helped me gain so much confidence. I did my undergrad here too and then worked for 2 years and then started my masters so I’ve been here about 6 years and this place has given me so many great opportunities and helped me grow in ways I wouldn’t have imagined.

Why is activism important? It’s important to take a stand on things we think are important. Often certain people can be overlooked, purposefully too and I believe that if you have a voice for good you should use that. So many changes we have see in the world come from those people taking a stand on an important issue. We really do have the power to change the world

How have you been involved?I always make sure I’m sharing things online and signing petitions  and also emailing MPs especially if things are happening in places I can’t reach like for example oversees in America I’m still doing my bit to make a change

Social Link: @bigsisterjournal

    

 

Kirsty (Zara) MacIntosh 

Name: Kirsty (Zara) MacIntosh 

What did you study at UWL: Musical Theatre 

Tell us a bit about you (values/interests/hobbies) : Quick fire round to get to know me a little better, a few values that are important to me are: Family, work ethic, freedom, loyalty. 

Tell us a bit about you (values/interests/hobbies): music, arts/theatre, psychology, politics, food. My hobbies would include: cooking, walking/hiking, gardening, DIY, gaming. 

What are you doing now: Before Covid 19 struck the world I was loving my job as an alternate in the West End production of Six the Musical. I’m currently patiently waiting for the West End to open back up so I can get back onstage and do what I love to do.  

What is your greatest achievement to date: Thats a hard one for me to give a straight answer to, I feel very blessed to have been able to achieve a few of my big dreams and life goals already but if I had to pick a couple it would be, buying my first home at age 23. Achieving my work goal of being on the West End and thirdly getting engaged to a person who respects and loves me. (Cringe I know, but that’s all I wanted from life) I feel blessed. 

How did UWL help you to achieve your current position: The three years I was at UWL, I had some of the hardest years of my life for personal reasons, so already I was being challenged to try and be the best version on myself while facing hard times. Being able to use the facilities around me helped massively and the amazing family, community feel was always so great. I was able to better my craft and gain confidence while doing it! 

Why is activism important?  Activism is the action on behalf of a cause, that goes beyond what is conventional or routine. This can come in many forms. Activism has been important throughout history and we currently living the life we do due to the influence of it. It carries such power but it’s important to remember to use it for the right reasons and that all information should be true. 

I believe activism is so powerful because we can come together with like minded individuals and make a positive change within communities and to help re build and restore quality of life for all people. I believe it also gives us a sense of freedom which is greatly important when needing to get your point across/be heard. 

How have you been involved?

Before I talk about my involvement in the current movement, I believe it’s important to not judge ourselves off the back of others right now. 

Any involvement is needed and greatly helpful and appreciated. This isn’t an easy battle and can be taxing to many people in many different ways. I’ve had to take some down time in between the fight to allow myself to restore and go again. So I wish to thank every and anyone for doing anything no matter how big or small they think it is. 

I’ve been getting involved publicly using my social media to elevate my voice and beliefs, signing petitions as well as donating. Getting involved in projects to promote the cause and also working with UWL students to create letters and testimonies!